Today, Interstellar Lab, a Paris/Kennedy Space Center-based startup working in the field of biofarming, has announced that it has been selected to partake in the incubation program from L’Oréal Green Sciences Incubator.
The programme will see a collaboration between Interstellar Lab and the world's largest cosmetics company explore the potential usage of the former’s flagship product, the BioPod, in the sourcing of a variety of molecules and active ingredients.
Akin to the staggering amount of carbon emissions from transoceanic vessels, the chemistry and sourcing of materials behind the personal care products industry is not something that the everyday consumer thinks about on a daily basis.
For example, according to cosmetic industry stats from 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) restriction list contains only 11 of the compounds that are proven to impact the skin adversely. In contrast, in Europe, the European Cosmetic Commission prohibits the use of 1623 substances.
The average woman uses 12 products per day containing over 168 ingredients, a man uses six products with 85 ingredients. A child is exposed to 5 products with 61 ingredients, and a teenage girl uses 17 products with over 230 ingredients every day.
With these stats in mind, the world's largest cosmetics company has set an ambitious set of goals for itself to achieve by 2030:
95 percent of ingredients in formulas will be biobased, derived from abundant minerals or from circular processes.
100 percent of the biobased ingredients for formulas and packaging materials will be traceable and will come from sustainable sources, none of them will be linked to deforestation
We will innovate to enable our consumers to reduce their GHG emissions and water consumption resulting from the use of our products by 25 percent (compared to 2016, on average and per finished product)
Seeking to merge biology and new technologies that can support these goals, L’Oreal launched its Green Sciences Incubator programme, one that will see Interstellar Lab’s participation.
Founded in 2018 and working in the field of biofarming solutions that optimise plant cultivation and molecular composition, both on Earth and space (hence the Interstellar), Interstellar Lab’s solutions offer a promising solution to L’Oreal’s goals, namely through a sustainable, highly precise method of cultivation of plants used not only in cosmetics, but pharmaceuticals, and of course, food industries.
Interstellar Lab’s flagship offering, the BioPod is a formidable contraption measuring some 55m² that accelerates production cycles and increases the production of bioactive compounds in plants.
Because the device is designed for extra-planetary deployment, its integrated water treatment system uses 99 percent less water than traditional agriculture methods, all the while virtually eliminating waste and runoff.
Effectively what this collaboration means is that L’Oréal is purchasing Interstellar Lab's biofarming services and will test specific plant species propagated within BioPod. If proven successful, L’Oréal will commit to purchasing BioPods of its own.
Interstellar Lab founder and CEO Barbara Belvisi shared:
“L’Oréal is engaged in a transition that is profoundly changing how the beauty industry creates and manufactures products.
“We are thrilled to collaborate with the world’s leading beauty player, using nature to redefine the future of sustainable beauty.”
Interstellar Lab has raised a total of $10 million in total over four funding rounds. $7 million in equity funding is provided by investors including dvX ventures, AUXXO, Kima Ventures, 7percent Ventures, Hexa co-founder Thibauld Elziere, and Founder Institute CEO Adeo Ressi. Bpifrance has provided $3 million in debt funding used to build Interstellar Lab's facility.
Lead image via Interstellar Lab. Photo: Matjaz Tancic.